Archives for category: Open Access
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Digital Public Library of America

Ebook Friendly’s Piotr Kowalczyk provides an updated list of sites that offer free public domain books in electronic and audio format. Piotr writes:

Every year new publications enter public domain. That means their intellectual property rights have expired or are not applicable any longer. The content of these works becomes available for public use. Anyone is free to use it – but also to reuse it, for instance publish a new edition. Therefore you may find in major ebookstores (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBook Store, or Google Play Books) public domain books that are not free. My advice is that if you want to get an ebook version of a classic novel like Pride and Prejudice, you should first check out the sites listed below. Browsing the ebookstore where you have an account is a next step, if you don’t find what you’re looking for.

Here’s a sampling of sites provided:

1. Project Gutenberg – Project Gutenberg is a top destination for free ebooks on the web. It’s [the] first ebook initiative in the world, established by Michael S. Hart in 1971.

2. Europeana – Europeana offers access to millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, and archives.

3. Digital Public Library of America – DPLA is aimed at giving universal access to digital resources of American libraries and archives.

4. Internet Archive – The website is a huge repository of text, audio and video files, including public domain titles. You can browse and read online over 5 million books and items from over 1,500 collections.

5. Open Library – The site is a project of the Internet Archive and is intended to create “one web page for every book ever published.”

Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder. OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review. OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. Business models for paying the bills depend on how OA is delivered. – Peter Suberopen-access-banner

For more information, click here.

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Photo by Thomas Litangen via Unsplash

Virginia Woolf’s classic essay, A Room of One’s Own, was written in 1929 and explores, in regards to woman and fiction, the opinion that a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. A woman at that time, due to social restrictions, had limited resources, space, privacy and time, all of which are needed to create and write fiction.

Fast-forward to today and a variation on the theme of independence can be explored that pertains to both men and women and includes the world of business. It is about creating an environment that allows for intellectual freedom. One way for business professionals and others who wish to grow creatively and intellectually outside their places of work, is to start businesses of their own.

Starting a business today is vastly different than starting one in the past. The main reason for this is due to, thanks to technology and innovation, the development of open access resources and tools. Starting and running a business in the past required a great deal of investment. Now, the availability of open access resources offer not only high quality, but economical options and opportunities as well.

Here are just a few examples of open access resources and tools and their uses. There are many, many more available:

  • Marketing/Social Media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Social Media Monitoring – Social Mention, Icerocket, Hootsuite
  • Marketing/Communications – blogging sites such as WordPress and Medium
  • Marketing/Design – Canva allows you to design and create professional presentations, flyers, documents, infographics, and more
  • Business and Market Research – SEC filings, Google Trends, Owler, SimilarWeb, Kompass. Emergence of government data combined with analytics
  • Accounting – GnuCash, Wave
  • Virtual Meetings – JoinMe, Google Hangouts, AnyMeeting

Today, it truly is possible to create a personal environment to freely pursue intellectual endeavors. Lucky for us that we live in a time where high quality open access tools and resources are readily available.

It comes as no surprise to the average college student that free textbook usage is increasing and will more than likely continue to increase at a speedy clip given the high cost of today’s textbooks.

According to a Rice University news release, more than 1.5 million college students have used a free textbook from OpenStax, the university-based publisher. “The number of students using OpenStax textbooks has more than doubled since January, and OpenStax estimates it will save students $70 million in the 2016-17 academic year…More than 811,000 students are using [OpenStax] books this fall, which is a 106 percent increase over spring 2016, and the books are being used in over 4,500 courses at 2,688 universities, colleges and high schools.”0927_osx-numbers-infocomp-lg-1dp4quz

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Photo by Daniella Winkler via Unsplash

Here is a strong contender for the best quote of 2016: “We talk a lot about information and the information age, but really what I think people are looking for is wisdom and knowledge.” -David Pescovitz, co-editor at Boing Boing and research director at the Institute for the Future.

Pescovitz, in a recent Business Insider article written by Chris Weller, offers some futuristic views on how libraries are going to change in 50 years’ time. Read the entire article here.

Highlights:

Libraries “are poised to become all-in-one spaces for learning, consuming, sharing, creating, and experiencing — to the extent that enormous banks of data will allow people to ‘check out’ brand-new realities [experiences], whether that’s scaling Mt. Everest or living out an afternoon as a dog.”

“What probably won’t change that much are librarians and the physical spaces they watch over…humans will always need some sort of guide to make a foreign landscape more familiar. Whether humanity turns that job into one for artificial intelligence is another matter.”

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The universal mission of public libraries is to serve and meet the cultural and information needs of their local communities. The business community, without doubt, is an important sector and services are offered with the goal to help local businesses thrive. Unfortunately, many businesses do not know about all the wonderful resources that are available. Here is a list and reasons why businesses, both large and small, should be utilizing the offerings provided by public libraries. It is not necessary to physically visit the library, as most resources are available in 24/7 accessible digital formats.

Business Research Databases

Accessing quality business research data can be expensive and many times the high cost of business databases limits the purchasing of these types of resources. Most public libraries have at least one or two databases that provide company and industry information and access to key business and trade publications. Larger libraries provide access to many of the databases widely used in corporations. Databases that provide the ability to create targeted company lists for sales and supplier identification are commonly available.

Business Publications

It’s true that your business probably subscribes to the key trade publications that are important in the industry in which you practice. What to do when you want to read more than just a select few? The library has access to many key business journals, in addition to local and regional business newspapers (which are important for searching small, private companies). For general business, Zinio is a service that provides access to magazines online and there a Business/Finance genre where publications can be viewed/downloaded.

Business Books

The business book collection in your local library will contain titles that are hot off the press, popular titles, and classics. Business books can be expensive to purchase, which might limit the enthusiasm to read and keep current. Many books can be downloaded on a device of choice from Overdrive or Hoopla and enjoyed while you are commuting to work or jogging around the block.

Books, Music, and Movies for Enjoyment or Relaxation

Download or check out the latest best sellers, songs, or movies. Enjoying fiction and non-fiction books either by reading or listening to them lets you get far away from the stresses of work. Libraries have unique and excellent DVD collections that include hard-to-find foreign films and documentaries.

Access to Search Experts

Many librarians take on subject expert roles, and there is a good chance that one of your local librarians has expertise in business research. Tap into that knowledge to learn the best resources to use for your information need and how to perform research that gets results. Research and digging up information is what reference librarians truly love to do and the harder the challenge, the better!

Free Meeting Spaces

If you are a solopreneur and don’t want to meet clients at your home office (and want a break from the usual coffee shop) the library has small meeting rooms available for free.

Interlibrary Loan Service

Let the librarians find that obscure or hard-to-get article, report, or book. If your local library does not have what you need, the librarians can make a loan request to a lending library, anywhere in the country.

Free Wi-Fi and Computer Use

Many professionals do not work in an office and often work with a laptop anywhere there is a Wi-Fi connection. Also, computers are available for use, along with printers and scanners. As a minimum, expect most to have all the Office applications available.

 

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Image Credit: Painted/brushed heart symbol – abstract love, by photosteve101, via Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0) license

February 8-13, 2016, is Love Your Data (LYD) week. According to the LYD week blog, the event, coordinated by research data specialists, mostly working in academic and research libraries, “is designed to raise awareness about research data management, sharing, and preservation along with the support and resources available at your college or university.” Each day of the week will focus on a different theme. The themes are:

Monday, Feb. 8 – Keep Your Data Safe

Tuesday, Feb. 9 – It’s the 21st Century – Do You Know Where Your data Is? (organizing data)

Wednesday, Feb. 10 – Help Your Future Self – Write It Down! (document, document, document)

Thursday, Feb. 11 – Respect Your Data – Give and Get Credit

Friday, Feb. 12 – Think Big – Transforming, Extending, Reusing Data

Being a social media campaign, the event will take place mainly online. Click here for logistics details. On the homepage, there is a list of participating institutions. Here is a sampling of participants:

Columbia University
Cornell University
Emory University
Florida State University
Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Penn State University
Purdue University
University of Arizona
University of California
University of California – San Diego

Even though this event is designed for students to help them get their “data organized, secure, and ready for write-up, sharing and reuse,” it is an excellent learning resource for business professionals to use as well.